Egor Gerasimov to beat Emil Ruusuvuori at +230 at bet365
Mackenzie McDonald to beat Ilya Ivashka at -120 at DraftKings
Yannick Hanfmann to beat Juan Ignacio Londero at +130 at bet365
Albert Ramos-Vinolas to win the Cordoba Open at +1400 at BetMGM
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Ruusuvuori has admittedly made a decent start to the season but Gerasimov looks overpriced in Pune where conditions that should suit his game.
Most of his best results have come when he’s been able to get a strong first serve firing, winning him plenty of cheap points. That was certainly the case at this event – played at an altitude above 500m where the balls fizz through the air that bit quicker – in 2020 when he finished as runner-up.
He started this year well enough in Australia, reaching the quarter-finals in Adelaide as a qualifier, beating seed Marton Fucsovics along the way.
Then, at the Australian Open, he put up a decent fight against top-10 star Hubert Hurkacz, losing in four sets.
Gerasimov edged the pair’s only previous meeting, and he looks too big at +240 to win this rematch.
Backing the Belarusian with a 3.5-game start on the handicap is another option worth considering.
Ivashka had been due to open his season in Australia but after making the trip Down Under, he withdrew from all three scheduled events due to an ankle problem.
He enjoyed a strong 2021 campaign, winning his maiden ATP title in Winston-Salem, but the end of the year didn’t go so well and the injury-hit start to 2022 could leave him vulnerable here against a player of McDonald’s quality.
The American likes to attack and should be happy playing in Montpellier’s faster-than-average indoor conditions.
He was certainly too good for Ivashka when they met in Washington last summer, winning 6-4 6-4, as part of a run to the final.
Last time out, McDonald fought hard against Aslan Karatsev – a tough draw – before losing in their Australian Open second-round clash and I think that as only a slight favourite (-120), he’s worth backing, particularly given the potential for rustiness from his opponent.
Moving on to the claycourt event taking place this week in Cordoba, Argentina, and Hanfmann looks a decent underdog.
He was an eyecatcher at the Australian Open where he came through qualifying, crushed Adelaide champion Thanasi Kokkinakis before losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. No disgrace in that.
That all bodes well ahead of a switch to his favoured surface, one on which he’s previously reached two ATP finals.
Notably, both of those finals came at high-altitude venues – Gstaad and Kitzbuhel – so heading to Cordoba which is more than 400m above sea level should work in the German’s favour.
His opponent is a former champion here, Londero being the shock winner of the inaugural event in 2019.
However, he didn’t win a single match at tour level in 2021, losing all 11 players, and this will be his first of 2022.
As ever in weeks when the top seeds get byes, it’s worth looking at potential second-round surprises.
In Cordoba, top seed and title favourite Diego Schwartzman won’t have the easiest of opening matches if he has to face last year’s semi-finalist Federico Coria, a player who ended 2021 with a clay title on the Challenger Tour in Brasilia.
At the same event, it will also be interesting to see how the ever-improving Sebastian Baez gets on if he sets up a meeting with former champion Cristian Garin.
Baez is a rising star on the clay and has begun to show decent signs on hardcourts in recent times too, the home hope might be a decent price to land that upset.
Finally, Montpellier top seed Alex Zverev won’t get things all his own way against either Ivashka or McDonald, who I mentioned above.
The German left Melbourne dejected following a straight-set defeat to Denis Shapovalov and is clearly looking to rediscover his form quickly having asked for a wild card.
But both potential opponents have weapons that could trouble Zverev. The market will be worth a second glance.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas gets the nod this week and is backed at +1400 to win the Cordoba Open.
He’s a player with a strong track record at a decent altitude – he’s a former champion in Gstaad in the Swiss Alps and has made three other ATP finals at a notable elevation.
The Spaniard made the final of this tournament last year and has long delivered decent performances and result during this ‘Golden Swing’ of South America’s claycourt events.
With holes to be picked in the top two in the market – Diego Schwartzman is yet to win here in three attempts while Dominic Thiem will be playing for the first time in nearly eight months – Ramos-Vinolas looks worth a wager.
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|ATP Pune, Montpellier & Cordoba Information|
|What||ATP Tata Open Maharashtra; ATP Open Sud de France; ATP Cordoba Open|
|Location||Pune, India; Montpellier, France; Cordoba, Argentina|
|Time||Monday, January 31 to Sunday, February 6|
|How to Watch||Tennis Channel|
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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